By Claire Maguire, Legal Intern, SALA Housing Unit
What is the CDC halt in evictions and how could it protect you?
The CDC has issued an order that stops evictions until December 31, 2020 for people who cannot pay rent due lost income or medical expenses and who are at risk of homelessness if evicted. If you meet certain requirements and take the proper steps, then your landlord cannot evict you until the end of the year. You would still owe rent and you must make your best effort to make partial rent payments. Your landlord can also still charge you late fees, penalties or interest if you do not pay rent on time. You must still follow the terms of your lease and your landlord can still evict you for other reasons besides non-payment of rent. Beware that on December 31, 2020 all unpaid rent and fees are due, and your landlord could evict you at that time for non-payment.
Who qualifies for protection under the CDC order?
Your landlord cannot evict you until December 31, 2020 if all of the following apply to you:
- You have made your best effort to obtain rental assistance. You can find out how to apply for rental assistance here.
- You meet the income requirement. This means either you received a stimulus check in 2020, or you did not have to file taxes in 2019 because of your low income, or you expect to make no more than $99,000 in 2020, or you and your spouse expect to make no more than $198,000 in 2020 if you file taxes jointly.
- You are unable to pay full rent because you lost your job, your hours or wages were cut at work, a person in your household lost income, or you had extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses. Medical expenses are extraordinary if they are not covered by insurance and are likely to be more than 7.5% of your yearly income before taxes (see chart at the end of this blog post to figure out if your medical expenses are extraordinary).
- You make your best effort to make partial rent payments to the best of your ability. You might want to agree on a payment plan with your landlord. You can find a sample payment plan agreement here.
- An eviction would make you homeless or force you to live in close quarters with others (for example, your only option would be to live on a friend’s couch) because you have no other housing options that are not more expensive than your current home.
I qualify for protection under the CDC order. What do I need to do to stop my landlord from evicting me before December 31, 2020?
As soon as you know you will not be able to pay full rent on time, you should sign and date three copies of the CDC declaration form. Give one original signed copy to your landlord. Every adult on your lease should complete a separate declaration form and give it to the landlord.
If you receive a notice that your landlord has filed an eviction action against you, you should file an answer with the court and send an original signed copy of the declaration form with your answer. You can call the court to find out how to submit your answer (if you are in Pima County, you can call the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court at (520) 724-3171). If you have a hearing, you should show up to the hearing and bring a signed original copy of your declaration form.
If a constable (law enforcement officer charged with enforcing evictions) shows up at your home to evict you, you should show them an original signed copy of your declaration form. If the constable still forces you to move out, contact SALA at (520) 623-9461.
Links mentioned in this article:
Text of the CDC order: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-09-04/pdf/2020-19654.pdf
Information on rental assistance: https://housing.az.gov/general-public/eviction-prevention-assistance
Payment plan agreement: https://clsaz.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-0727-payment-plan-english.pdf
CDC declaration form: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf
Chart to figure out if your medical expenses are extraordinary:
|If you make this much before tax:||Then your medical expenses are extraordinary if they are likely to be more than:|
For questions or comments about this blog, please contact us as: Connections@sazlegalaid.org